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USM Appoints Inaugural Dean of College of Management and Human Service


Contact:  Sara Litwiller

College of Management and Human Service

University of Southern Maine


Portland, Maine—Dr. Joseph W. McDonnell has been appointed dean of the University of Southern Maine's College of Management and Human Service.

The college includes the USM School of Education and Human Development, the School of Business, School of Social Work, and the Muskie School for Public Service. It is one of three new colleges created through a consolidation of university schools and colleges designed to streamline administrative costs and encourage the growth of interdisciplinary studies.

McDonnell previously served as research professor and interim dean at the College of Business at Stony Brook University in New York and brings to USM a record of implementing innovative, interdisciplinary programs with both national and international reach.  Under his direction, Stony Brook launched its first MBA program and expanded its enrollment to 300 students over six years; and developed 49 combined undergraduate-MBA programs and six combined graduate-level programs.  He also led implementation of a joint degree with Nanjing University in China and an expanded executive master’s degree in technology management program in Seoul, Korea, as well as student study tours of China.  Additionally, the College of Business undergraduate enrollment grew by 92 percent during his tenure at Stony Brook.

"Joe comes to us with deep experience as a faculty member and academic administrator," said USM Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs John Wright. "At Stony Brook, he also worked successfully to build bridges with other departments through combined degree programs."

Prior to becoming an academic administrator, McDonnell served in leadership positions within the business world, including as senior vice president for marketing and external affairs for the Long Island Lighting Company; managing director of Broadgate Consultants, a Wall Street communications and investor relations firm; and president of Chinex International, LTD, a joint venture with China National Machinery Corporation. Earlier in his career, McDonnell also held positions as director of business administration for Applied Digital Data Systems, a division of the NCR Corporation, and as associate director of the Stony Brook University Hospital. He earned a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in philosophy from Stony Brook University, and holds a doctorate in communications from the University of Southern California.

McDonnell replaces James Shaffer, who served as interim dean of the College of Management and Human Service. "We owe Jim Shaffer a debt of gratitude for his leadership of the College of Management and Human Service during its critically important first year," said Wright. "I'm pleased that Jim will now return to the classroom to teach leadership in the School of Business and look forward to his continued involvement in USM's academic community." 

The College of Management and Human Service, formed in 2010, offers both undergraduate and graduate degree programs and provides research that informs policy and procedure at both the state and national level.  In addition to his responsibilities as dean, McDonnell will serve as a professor in the Muskie School. His academic interests are in the area of political and corporate rhetoric, crisis management, and leadership.

“I’m looking forward to working with the faculty, staff, and community leaders,” McDonnell said, “to assist these professional schools in creating valuable learning experiences for our students, as well as applied research and service to address the critical issues in Maine.”